A man answers questions on camera.

Liberal MP Francis Drouin. (Archive photo)

Photo: Radio-United States

The Assembly of the Francophonie of Ontario (AFO) comes to the defense of Liberal MP Francis Drouin, who found himself in the hot seat after making vulgar remarks, in a letter of which Radio-United States obtained a copy.

Mr. Drouin was plunged into controversy last week after having treated, in a parliamentary committee, witnesses campaigning for the protection of French in Quebec, whose comments seemed to exasperate him, of full of shit. The Liberal MP immediately withdrew his crude comments and has since apologized for them.

His scandal earned him reprimands. MPs from the Conservative Party and the Bloc Québécois notably demanded his resignation as a member of the Standing Committee on Official Languages ​​and his dismissal as president of the Assembly of Parliamentarians of the Francophonie (APF).

For the president of the AFO Fabien Hébert, MP Francis Drouin is a ally who has the French-speaking world at heart.

The letter from the organization, which represents the approximately 800,000 Franco-Ontarians in the province, is addressed to the president of the committee, René Arseneault, and to the other deputies who sit on it.

Fabien Hébert.

The president of the AFO, Fabien Hébert, describes MP Francis Drouin as an “ally”.

Photo: Radio-United States / Jimmy Chabot

Since Mr. Drouin was elected, he has been an available, attentive MP and has worked for the good of the French-speaking world. writes Mr. Hébert.

He was an ally in obtaining the University of French Ontario and the modernization of the Official Languages ​​Act.

A quote from Fabien Hébert, president of the Assembly of the Francophonie of Ontario

The letter also emphasizes that Francis Drouin assumes very well his duties as president of the Assembly of Parliamentarians of the Francophonie.

Extraordinary meeting

The Standing Committee on Official Languages ​​must hold an emergency meeting regarding these controversial comments on Wednesday morning, at the request of the Conservative Party and the Bloc Québécois.

Committee members must meet at 10 a.m. to debate and vote on a motion that would force the testimony of the Minister of Official Languages, Randy Boisson nault, on this subject.

Quebecers as well as French-speakers in Canada deserve to hear the minister’s comments on unacceptable comments of Francis Drouin, according to the Conservative and Bloc signatories of the motion, who want the minister condemns this shameful behavior.

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Conservative MP Joël Godin demands that Mr. Drouin resign from the Standing Committee on Official Languages. Bloc leader Mario Beaulieu, for his part, is calling for his dismissal as president of the APF.

Joël Godin speaks in the House of Commons.

The Conservative MP for Portneuf–Jacques-Cartier, Joël Godin, asks Francis Drouin to resign from the Standing Committee on Official Languages. (Archive photo)

Photo: The U.S. Press / Adrian Wyld

Nuances to bring, according to a political scientist

It was in particular the testimony in committee of independent researcher Frédéric Lacroix, who was accompanied by Nicolas Bourdon, professor and member of the Regroupement pour le cégep français, which brought Francis Drouin out of his hinges.

Mr. Lacroix presented his thesis according to which the overfinancing of English-speaking universities is a direct cause of anglicization in Quebec. To support his remarks, he cited in particular a Statistics Canada study which highlights that those who attend English-speaking universities find themselves more often subsequently in an English-speaking work environment.

This analysis lacks nuance, according to Stéphanie Chouinard, associate professor of political science at the Royal Military College of Canada, because it does not take into account other factors, such as the language spoken at home or the language of socialization.

Stéphanie Chouinard sitting in front of a library with shelves filled with books.

Political scientist Stéphanie Chouinard

Photo: Radio-United States

Because I use English at work, she says, that doesn’t mean that I use it in shops, that I buy my pint of milk in English because I studied in English.

There is this aspect of the discussion where we found that the researchers were a little strong-willed, with the extrapolations they made based on Statistics Canada figures.

A quote from Stéphanie Chouinard, associate professor of political science at the Royal Military College of Canada

The president of the AFO suggests for his part that this debate concerning the insults uttered by Francis Drouin is a waste of time.

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Fabien Hébert respectfully invite the committee to debate instead topics that really affect Franco-Ontarians such as the underfunding of Franco-Ontarian organizations, post-secondary funding in Ontario and the investment promised by the Liberals for the University of Sudbury which is still waiting.

It is by discussing these subjects that we will truly advance the Francophonie and official languages. supports the letter of the AFO.

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